I suppose this is overdue. By how much I’m not really sure. I mean, when is the official cut-off for when our toddlers turn into children? Does it happen when we’re ready to admit it?
For me it crept in slowly, you stumbled and sauntered through milestones, developments, and discoveries.
I saw it happening in real time, in a haze of everyday bustle. At one point there were two toddlers mucking about, you and your sister — close yet miles apart in your 18-month age difference. You both crawled and stumbled around; putting everything in your mouths, speaking your first words and finally making it to the potty.
If there ever was a time to transition from toddlerhood into childhood, I know it’s now. It’s a fact I can no longer ignore —and it’s not something I ache over anymore.
You no longer fit on my hip just so. Now, your legs wrap around my hip and your arms wrap loosely around my neck to drape down my back. You’re long-limbed and athletic, bubble-tummied no more.
Now, it’s your sticky hand in mine and your mouth forming sentences that proclaim your love for me. “Oh mama,” you say. “I love you,” as you hug me fierce and tight, just as I have done to you countless times over the last four years. Now, you lay sweet kisses down upon my forehead and greet me each morning with lazy cuddles, sleepy smiles, and genuine affection.
You dote on me, reminding me that you are maturing daily before my own eyes.
I watch and marvel over how you articulate your thoughts, feelings, and knowledge about the world around you.
You’re a natural teacher and effervescent performing artist already, charming every human you meet, boy or girl, man or woman.
The bittersweet ache that had me melancholy over the passing of time and the aging of your years, has been replaced with a deep pride. A strong sense that the best is yet to come — on this most powerful, intoxicating, and all-consuming journey that is mothering you.
Before my very eyes and less-than-graceful guidance, you have blossomed into such an amazing little boy. One who seems to have passed the time for meltdowns — it’s now your sister we all watch wide-eyed as she hits the floor to wail the blues.
You are my boy and there’s nothing I’d rather do than raise you and watch you grow. I’m not sad about my baby boy melting away anymore.
Because now I have you — in all of your brilliance, depth, and fortitude — that only a child who is deeply loved and accepted for who they are, who they can be … is.
Now I have you, the boy who knows most of my favorite songs and plays them for me without being asked. Now I have you who tells his dad to make mama coffee every morning and who asks me to sing him songs each night.
Now I have you, who watches over and protects his sister, my daughter — with a fierceness that near matches my own.
Now I have you, a son who thinks I’m pretty amazing — meltdowns and all. (Because I have them too.)
Now I have you, a young boy who was once a baby that I dreamt about, wished for, and ached for.
You are living proof that there is still beauty, real authentic beauty in this sad world. The things I fear now have nothing to do with letting go of my first baby — but more to do with the world we’ve brought you into.
But that, that’s for another post.
For now, at least I have you.